Now that the ACLU got Rep. Sue Peterson to “fix” the silly state seal bill, the Legislature can turn to really important matters, like debating all over again whether the states should call an Article V Convention and throw the United States Constitution to the whims of ALEC.
Two—two!—competing Article V resolutions popped into the hopper today. Senate Joint Resolution 3 copies language from a failed 2016 resolution calling for a convention of the states “limited to proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for federal officials and for members of Congress….” This retread tacks on verbiage from a failed 2017 resolution attempting to argue that the states can prevent a runaway convention, but my arguments against such a resolution and such a convention remain the same: a convention of the states is ALEC-backed nonsense aimed at removing Constitutional obstacles to complete corporatocracy, and no state resolution can prevent a convention, once called, from writing whatever amendments it wants. If you want a runaway convention that could repeal both the First and Second Amendments, go ahead, support SJR 3.
One upside to SJR 3: its 23 sponsors, all Republicans, led by Senator R. Blake Curd and Rep. Lynne DiSanto, are all explicitly rebuking Trumpism. By cutting and pasting language from an Obama-era resolution, these Republicans are declaring that federal government controlled by Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and the Republican Party is creating crushing debt, imposing manipulative unfunded mandates, and ignoring the Constitution.
But hey, I can rebuke Trump without crashing the Constitution.
SJR 3 will run headlong into House Joint Resolution 1003, which calls for repeal of a 2015 resolution that some time-wasting ALEC attendees actually got through both chambers calling for a Constitutional Convention limited to creation of a balanced budget amendment. Sensible states have been rescinding such resolutions, recognizing that ALEC is full of crap and that an Article V convention would be uncontrollable and dangerous.
HJR 1003 gets style-and-form points over SJR3 for proper structure. The Senate resolution tacks its esoteric arguments into a sprawling Resolved clause, which is supposed to be reserved for calls to action. The House resolution rebuts those shaky Senate/ALEC arguments where they should be rebutted, in the Whereas clauses. To boil down the arguments of HJR 1003:
- Only Congress can set the rules for an Article V convention.
- The states thus can’t restrict the topics delegates address (which SJR 3 hopes to do).
- The states can’t impose rules of order to ensure, for example, that each state gets one equal vote (which Con-Con backers’ hopes hinge, since they need to check the power of New York, California, and other godless bastions of liberalism whom God has strangely blessed with much larger populations).
The House resolution rejecting a constitutional convention has 33 sponsors, including six Democrats. No sponsor overlaps with SJR 3, so no one is taking the position that we could rescind the 2015 balanced budget convention resolution and call for a constitutional convention on a broader range of topics. The language of the two resolutions prevents any Aye-overlap from attentive legislators. SJR 3 says an Article V Constitutional convention is a great idea. HJR 1003 says it’s an awful idea that the states cannot control.
Resolutions usually don’t matter, but these could, since 33 other states passing such resolutions would cause Congress to call a convention. Let’s keep the Constitution safe from that peril: Vote YES on HJR 1003 and Vote NO on SJR 3.